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B.C. court rejects woman's attempt to dismiss $5,700 COVID test fine

Nora Donahue cited a lack of informed consent, a personal health privacy violation and a constitutional violation as her defence for refusing to take the test.
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People entering Canada had been required to present a negative COVID-19 test, specifically a PCR test.

B.C. Supreme Court has dismissed the claim of a woman who was given a $5,700 ticket for refusing to take a COVID-19 test when entering Canada at the Surrey border crossing.

On Sept. 13, 2021, Nora Donahue tried to cross the land border into Canada and was asked to undergo a PCR test.

“She believes that it was wrong for the government to require her to take a PCR test, and that the rules established pursuant to the Quarantine Act violated her constitutional rights,” wrote Justice William Veenstra in his Aug. 24 decision, released Sept. 12.

When she refused to do so, she was issued a ticket by the Public Health Agency of Canada, stated the ruling.

Donahue filed a notice disputing the ticket on Oct. 29, 2021.

On Jan. 20, 2022, the hearing proceeded at Surrey provincial court and the ticket was confirmed but Donahue did not attend.

In April, she filed an application with Surrey provincial court seeking an order allowing her to contest the ticket. She said she had not received notification of the court date.

That request was refused.

Donahue cited a lack of informed consent, a personal health privacy violation and a constitutional violation, as her defence for refusing to take the test.

Her request to contest the ticket was denied leading to the Supreme Court civil action.

Veentsra noted the “consequence of failure to appear in court is that the allegation or fine is deemed not to be disputed and the amount indicated on the ticket is immediately payable to the government.”

The defendants, the province and ICBC, argued the failure to appear and the provincial court’s denial should have been the end of it.

Veenstra characterized the suit as “a classic case of an action making a collateral attack on a valid decision of a court with authority.”

jhainsworth@glaciermedia.ca

twitter.com/jhainswo